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Alameda Corridor & LA/LB Harbor Tour Page 3

APTA Alameda Corridor and Los Angeles/

Long Beach Harbors Tour

April 2, 2005

Story and Photographs Copyright 2005 by Richard Elgenson, RailNews Network


Just past another LA City Fire Station is DAS which receivesJapanese import vehicles.  The auto transport ships look strange compared to regular bulk or container ships.  They can handle as many as 3500 to 4000 vehicles.  The ships return to Asia with maybe 300 exotic American cars, recreational vehicles and heavy construction vehicles like Caterpillar.  We waited for  a few moments to watch for any vehicles driven off the ramp at the stern. 



This ship was offloading most vehicles from the starboard (right) side of the ship.  Some passenger vehicles are then driven up a ramp and onto autorack railcars.  Others are trucked to dealers. 


Continuing east towards the Badger Bridge, there are some small boat marinas.  Captain Wilson informed us that the Badger Bridge was down for rail traffic.  This brought back a memory from 2002 when I was bringing my sailboat back from this location to Long Beach and had to wait 45 minutes for a PHL train to clear the bridge. 


Fortunately, the PHL train this day was very short and the bridge was raised for our tour boat.  The locomotive is a PHL engine that is leased.  East of Badger Bridge is the Heim Bridge which handles vehicular traffic on the 47 Terminal Island Freeway.  It too is a lift bridge operated by CalTrans, the California Department of Transportaiotn.  It has been used many times for filming car commercials. 


The PHL dispatch office is also located at Badger Bridge.  This 2 track bridge replaced a single track bridge in the late 1990's. On the Long Beach side between the ship channel and Ocean Boulevard is a yet to be built terminal which had large piles of dirt stored for several years.  This dirt was produced form digging the Alameda Corridor trench. 



Past the bridge are more shipping terninals on the Long Beach Harbor side, including container, bulk petroleum and more automobiles.  Downtown Long Beach is visible in the distance. 


Bulk oil carriers are hemmed in by spill booms to prevent pollution.  Lexus vehicles are handled at this location. 


The Gerald Desmond bridge connects downtown Long Beach with Terminal Island.  Built in 1968, it is nearing its useful lifetime.  Its low soffit elevation prevents the newer ships from passing under.  The replacement bridge is estimated to cost around 900 million dollars.

Page 4 APTA Alameda Corridor & Harbor Cruise